What you must know about Hypertension!
By strict definition, hypertension is a persistent rise in blood pressure (BP), meaning that it must have been checked at least twice over a 4 hour interval and a reading of 140/90 mmHg or more was recorded on both occasions. Blood pressure is written as a fraction of systolic BP (numerator) and diastolic (denominator) BP and the normal value is a range, with less than 120/80 mmHg generally considered as normal.
Normal 90-119/60-79 mmHg
High normal 120-139/80-89 mmHg
Hypertension >139/>89 mmHg
Blood is pumped by the heart, which works like a regular electric water pump, providing the force that drives blood to the organs, whilst also serving as a temporary storage reservoir. During this process of circulation, it sends blood to the lungs for oxygen to be added, before finally supplying all the other body parts. When the BP becomes persistently high, the heart has to do more work to meet the needs of the body, and when this goes on for a long time, it packs up. The blood vessels of different organs like the brain, kidneys, and eyes can also be affected, leading to significant damage over a long period of time.
How is it diagnosed?
Most people with a persistently high BP do not experience any symptoms, while others complain of constant headache, tiredness and/or poor sleep. Other symptoms may be pointers to complications of long-standing hypertension.
Hypertension is one of the easiest diagnosis to make, as it just requires your BP to be checked at least twice with an interval of at least 4 hours between each measurement taken.
What causes hypertension?
Most people with hypertension have the primary (essential) type, meaning that no particular cause has been found after carrying out the necessary tests. Secondary hypertension could be as a result of kidney disease, thyroid and adrenal gland malfunction, heart diseases.
No particular thing has been found as the very cause of hypertension, however, many factors have been found to increase the chances of developing the disease;
- Black race
- Unhealthy diet
- Family history of hypertension
How is it treated?
Regular exercise, as well as dietary modifications, plays a vital role in the control of blood pressure, so not everyone diagnosed with hypertension will require to be on medications for life. However most people will need to be placed on antihypertensive medications for life, with exercise and dietary measures alongside.
Although hypertension doesn’t have a cure, there are numerous medications/drugs that can help keep our BP at a normal level, thus preventing the complications that could arise. These drugs are very safe, with little or no unbearable side effects.
Hypertension is not a spiritual entity imposed on you by your doctor, but a medical illness that can be well controlled if medications and other forms of prescribed treatment are strictly adhered to. The disease is termed “the silent killer” because it usually doesn’t seem like a serious illness, until complications like stroke, blindness, heart failure or kidney failure have set in, and at that time, no amount of drugs can reverse the condition.